Rwandans have commemorated the 25th anniversary of the genocide which claimed the lives of close to 1 million Tutsis and moderate Hutus.
President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeanette Kagame, on Sunday, laid wreaths at a mass grave at the Kigali Genocide Memorial, where lie the remains of 250,000 victims.
He was accompanied by several heads of state and government including the leaders of Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Belgium, the African Union and the European Commision.
President Kagame also lit the Flame of Hope
“In 1994, there was no hope, only darkness. Today, light radiates from this place”
The commemoration also included activities at the Kigali Convention Centre, a dome – shaped auditorium which is a strong symbol of Rwanda’s rebirth.
Some 10,000 people led by president Kagame proceeded to march from Parliament to the Amahoro National Stadium in Kigali, where some victims lost their lives in 1994.
The march dubbed “Walk to Remember”, was followed by a night vigil at the stadium.
The activites of Sunday April 7, mark the beginning of a week of Mourning and 100 days of commemoration of the genocide against the Tutsis
The Rwandan genocide was a mass slaughter of the Tutsis from April 7th to mid July 1994. The killings were sparked by the shooting down of the plane carrying the then Rwandan president Juvenal Habyarimana on its descent into Kigali.
The genocide ended after the Tutsi-backed Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) led by Paul Kagame took control of the capital Kigali, and the country.
Today Rwanda has two public holidays mourning the genocide. The national mourning period begins with Kwibuka or Remembrance and concludes with Liberation day on 4 July.
Moity Uwaifo Akonjang in Kigali, Rwanda